Historic England are the public body that helps people care for, enjoy and celebrate England's spectacular historic environment.  

An Inclusion, Diversity and Equality Strategy for Historic England.

Historic England believes that the historic environment in England should be accessible and relevant to everyone who lives and visits here, whatever their socio-economic background, race, religion, sexuality, gender, disability, or health.

We know that currently we are not reaching large sections of the population and that our workforce is not diverse. Subsequently many of our work programmes and the ways in which we work are not yet inclusive.

This strategy is for Historic England. It is not intended as a strategy for the historic environment sector but does include actions which will help develop more diversity in the sector. We have considered carefully our starting point and what we feel can be achieved in 3 years. This strategy does not represent the totality of our ambition but sets out where we need to get to to enable further progress to be realised.

Vision and Aims

Our strategy for Inclusion, Diversity and Equality, sets out how we will work over the next 3 years.

At its heart is our vision that Heritage is for everyone. The work we do ensures that a diverse range of people are able to connect with, enjoy and benefit from the historic environment.

Which we will achieve by doing three things:

One. Making sure that our work, including our advice, our content, our policies and our projects, are relevant to a diverse range of people and are delivered in inclusive, participatory and collaborative ways.

Two. Making sure that our people better reflect the communities within which we work, enabling us to benefit from a diverse range of perspectives, and recruit from the widest pool of talent.

Three. Developing our expertise and our partnerships so that we can support and challenge organisations working in the historic environment to become more diverse and inclusive.

Priority audiences.

Inclusive practice means working in a way in which no one feels excluded. As we are starting from a position which is markedly exclusive, we have a long way to go. It is therefore necessary to prioritise activities which support those people who are least represented in our workforce and/or are least involved in our work.

Initially we will prioritise resources and make sure that our activities deliver improved outcomes for the following people:

People with Black, Asian or other Minority Ethnic Heritage.

People who identify as Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer plus, LGBTQ+. Plus signifies that the acronym LGBTQ is insufficient to fully encompass the variety of gender and sexual identities and is inclusive of identities such as asexual, non-binary, pansexual, and intersex people.

Young People under 25 – school aged children and young people aged 16 to 25 outside of school.

People with disabilities.

People who are disadvantaged by their social and/or economic background or circumstances, or by where they live.

Although we have broken down our audiences into distinct and discrete groups, we are mindful of intersectionality. We understand that different aspects of identities can combine to create unique barriers and experiences of discrimination. We are committed to developing our understanding of these experiences and of how we can take them into account in taking forward this Strategy.

Key aims and outcomes.

We have broken down our activity in to 3 strands: Our Work, Our People, and Our Support for the Historic Environment Sector.

Strand 1: Our work.

Aim: Make sure that our work, including our advice, our content, our policies and our projects, are relevant to a diverse range of people and are delivered in inclusive ways.

Strand 2: Our People.

Aim: Make sure that our people better reflect the demographics of the communities in which we work, enabling us to benefit from a diverse range of perspectives and recruit from the widest pool of talent.

Strand 3: The historic environment sector.

Aim: Develop our expertise and our partnerships so that we can support and challenge the organisations working in the historic environment to become more diverse and inclusive.


We have identified a number of significant areas of new work to help us deliver the aims of this Strategy, which we will take forward over the next three years. These are set out in detail in Chapter 9. In summary we are committed to delivering the following actions over the lifetime of the strategy:

Strand 1: Our Work

Action 1. Undertake a diversity audit of our current programmes.

Action 2. Recognise a more representative and diverse heritage through the National Heritage List for England (the List).

Action 3. Give a wider range of people the opportunity to contribute to listing.

Action 4. Find new ways to mark and commemorate diverse heritage through a national Place Marker scheme.

Action 5. Ensure that our existing grant programmes deliver outcomes for people and communities as well as heritage.

Action 6. Establish new specific grant opportunities which deliver on our ambitions for diversity and inclusion.

Action 7. Engage the next and future generations with heritage by developing a strategy for working with young people.

Action 8. Ensure our digital presence and content is accessible and relevant to a broad range of people.

Action 9. Ensure that we understand the needs of diverse audiences by ensuring our approach to audience segmentation aligns more closely with priority audiences.

Action 10. Review our current procurement policies and practices to ensure we are encouraging a more diverse supplier base.

Strand 2: Our People

Action 11. Review our approach to recruitment for all roles and identify strategies to attract more diverse candidates for all vacancies, including Committee roles and Commissioners.

Action 12. Create a new mandatory training programme for inclusion, diversity and equality.

Action 13. Expand our early careers programmes, including apprenticeships, work experience and positive action training placements.

Action 14. Establish a cohort of trained Diversity Champions in teams across the organisation.

Action 15. Establish new staff networks for social mobility and neurodiversity and re-energise all existing staff networks.

Action 16. Create a new coherent pathway into the sector for young people and raise awareness of potential careers in the historic environment.

Action 17. Ensure inclusion, diversity and equality is embedded in everyone’s core work programmes.

Strand 3: The Historic Environment Sector

Action 18. Undertake an assessment of diversity in the sector workforce.

Action 19. Make diversity and inclusion training available to other organisations working in the historic environment.

Action 20. Seek partnerships to create a development programme for aspiring Board members for heritage organisations from groups which are under-represented on boards.

Action 21. Facilitate a series of in-depth conversations with organisations working in the historic environment to establish how Historic England can effectively support those organisations to become more diverse and inclusive.

Throughout the Strategy, we have reflected on our own experience and highlighted some projects which have been successful and which we can be proud of. However, we have been honest about where we are and how far we need to travel. Some of our new activities are areas where we can take action straight away. For others, we recognise that there may be significant gaps in our knowledge and expertise. We will spend the first year of implementation working with staff, partners and stakeholders to develop these activities in more detail. Partnerships are central to the delivery of the strategy. We recognise that the knowledge and best practice in this area does not necessarily lie in our own organisation or even in the historic environment sector.


Our Strategy signals a new direction and a greater sense of purpose. It is the point from which our progress will be measured. It provides a framework for ensuring that we deliver our core purpose in a way which benefits a broader range of people, places and communities. It reaffirms our commitment to do this in partnership with organisations and communities which better represent the diversity of England and our rich heritage.